The key message of 'getting things done' is a mantra for many small businesses, often with as little red tape as possible. However, many companies mistake productivity tools, especially for meetings, collaboration and sharing knowledge, as barriers to progress rather than useful facilitators.
Facilitating a good meeting is the art of taking control, encouraging a flow of information and getting those involved to generate positive feedback and feel some synergy with the aims of the meeting or project. There are many good business books on the subject, but in reality, all you need is a good facilitator to help drive the relevant points and discussion of a meeting home.
A future with facilitation
The key to being a good facilitator is to build up a process that is repeatable for your next meeting or project and every subsequent one. Learn from when things don't go well and create rules to navigate around the many potholes that you and collaborators will come across.
The key ways that you can be a good facilitator are by helping to stimulate the discussion and dialogue, keeping the meeting on focus. You can do this through good preparation and knowledge. The meeting should also have a well-defined structure to keep it on track. If someone wants to derail it, the phrase 'we can discuss this at a later time' is your friend.
To foster discussion, you need to get other people talking, even those who are usually reticent. Bring them into the conversation by focusing on areas where they have knowledge and asking for their thoughts or experiences. Give everyone the chance to talk and discuss, ensuring they feel they are spending their time in a valuable discussion.
Finally, you need to focus on the desired outcome, be it agreeing some next steps, approving a suggestion or a budget. If that's the goal, then ensure the meeting content spirals around that point until an agreement is made, or concrete steps toward agreeing on it are found. Using Noddlepod, you can help define discussions and debates in meetings or projects and craft your own set of rules to help make you a better facilitator, sharing this information with others who need to run their own meetings.